Think Hollywood, think glamour, style, and, occasionally, quality. One of the increasing number of “celebrities” who have been drawn to put their own stamp on the ginaissance is Hollywood film director, Paul Feig. His brainchild is Artingstall’s Brilliant London Gin and is the result of his quest to find the perfect gin to go into his favourite cocktail of Martini.
Often when you dig into the development of a product which is associated with a “celebrity” you find that they have done little more than add their name to a product in the hope that it will bring a little cachet. Feig, though, at least according to his publicity, has been involved in all aspects of the design of this spirit. Teaming up with Minhas Craft Brewery, a family-owned micro distillery based in Monroe in Wisconsin and the second oldest in the States, he discussed his ideal gin with co-owners, Manjit and Ravinder Minhas, who produced eight different baskets of botanicals and distilled up versions within the parameters discussed. After a considerable amount of trial and error, they came up with this gin.
Artingstall’s uses eleven botanicals including juniper, orris root, coriander, cassia bark, cardamom, elderberries, and citrus. On the nose the aromas are what you would expect from a London Dry style gin, juniper forward, a nice amount of citrus and the subtle tones of spice. The spirit is crystal-clear in the glass and in the mouth the earthy flavour of orris root is the yin to the yang of the underlying peppery sweetness, before finishing off with a long aftertaste of perfumed lavender. With an ABV of 42% it packs a punch and is versatile enough to hold its own in a martini or negroni as well as making for a satisfying drink on its own along with a premium tonic.
In a bold move Feig chose not to call the gin after himself, preferring to stand behind the camera rather than in front of it, and allows the spirit to stand up for itself, confident in its qualities, notwithstanding the feverish efforts of the publicists to remind you that it is his creation. There is a personal connection to the name, albeit an obscure one. Artingstall was the maiden name of his mother and, according to Feig, it was chosen because it had an old-fashioned English feel about it.
The paramount statement piece of this gin and what makes Artingstall’s stand out from the crowd is the bottle. It is stunning, a huge, square block of embossed glass, reminiscent of the classic cut glass decanters of the 1950s and 60s, which would do serious damage if you dropped it on your toes. The design was based on an old cut-glass decanter Feig found in a charity shop and has a wide glass top with a white synthetic stopper. The labelling is a classy black, textured with a gold foil border and gold lettering. It is magnificent.
Hollywood has a reputation for being all glitz and glamour but there is real quality and much thought behind this blockbuster. Brilliant in name and brilliant by nature.
Until the next time, cheers!